Even at times when the world is not as stressful as it is now, we still go through varying levels of stress whether that’s due to our health, our financial situation, our job, or something else. You are probably aware that constantly being stressed out is not good for our wellbeing, which is why we have to take certain measures and manage that stress to the best of our ability. While it’s not always easy, there are steps we can take that will help us relax both our mind and body. If you are in need of some stress-relieving, keep on reading for some useful tips.
Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing is a technique that can get your stress level lowered, it’s very easy to learn, and you can do it anywhere. It is actually the foundation for many other methods of stress relief so it can be combined with other approaches.
Start by sitting comfortably and keeping your back straight. With one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, breathe in through your nose. The hand you’ve placed on your chest should not move a lot while the one on your stomach should rise. Exhale through the mouth and contract your abs as much as possible to push out all the air. The movement of the hands should be the same as before. Continue breathing like that for a while. If sitting is not comfortable, you can also try it in a lying position.
If you are not sure exactly what you are doing when it comes to deep breathing, you can also turn to apps and audio tutorials for guidance.
Opt for a massage
A massage is an amazing way to ease muscle tension, relieve pain, and lower stress levels. If possible, you should look for an expert in your area that offers different kinds of massages so that you get to experience all the benefits of this practice. Chances are that a professional masseuse will create a soothing atmosphere with aromatherapy and relaxing sounds that will really help you unwind.
However, not all of us can afford professional massages on a regular basis. In that case, you’ll be happy to hear that self-massages can be of great help as well. You can also ask your partner or roommate to give you a quick massage.
What you need to know in terms of massages is that a combination of strokes is best. So, kneading, chopping, drumming, and going in circles are all techniques you should apply to get the results you need. It might be best to look for a tutorial to really understand these movements.
Rely on visualization
Visualization, also known as guided imagery, is a relaxation technique that relies on imagining a scene that makes one feel at peace. This setting is supposed to help with letting go of all tension and anxiety that an individual is experiencing. What is great about this method is that you can choose the setting that is the most serene for you – anything from a forest and a beach to your favorite spot from childhood.
You can try it on your own but if you are a beginner, it might be better to choose guided visualization with an app. Moreover, you can do it in complete silence or you can use aids that help create the environment you are imagining, such as sounds of the ocean or birds chirping.
Just sit back in your comfy lift chair and imagine this tranquil space. Do your best to picture everything you can, including the sight, smell, sounds, taste, and feel. Incorporating as many sensory details as possible will let your worries drift away as it maximizes the effects of visualization.
Explore progressive muscle relaxation and body scan meditation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a process during which you systematically tense different groups of muscles and then relax them. This familiarizes you with the tension in your body, which means you can react on time when you feel tension that accompanies stress. Relaxing your body will also relax your mind. To get into this, you don’t need anything special. Wear loose clothes and get comfy. Then, start tensing certain muscles for 10 seconds and relaxing them. Breathe deeply and focus on the tension leaving your body. Repeat the same process for other muscles. Start from your feet and work your way up.
Alternatively, you can opt for body scan meditation. This approach does not require tensing and relaxing, you simply have to focus on each body part and how it feels. Tune in to the sensations you might be feeling while focusing on a certain part without labeling anything as good or bad. Just note how your body feels. After you are done, relax for a while and stretch if necessary.
Try out rhythmic exercises
Some people might be of the opinion that exercise cannot really help them relax but certain workouts that require repetitive movements can lead to a soothing feeling. Everything from walking and running to swimming, climbing, and rowing can produce such an effect.
These exercises on their own can do wonders but adding some mindfulness can lead to many more benefits. This way, you will be fully engaged in what you are doing and paying attention to your body and how it feels instead of worrying about your obligations. For example, when running, focus on the rhythm of your breathing, the wind in your face, your feet on the ground, and so on.
Give yoga and tai chi a go
Both yoga and tai chi can help reduce stress and anxiety as well as improve balance, stamina, and flexibility. When it comes to yoga, you should be aware that improper poses can lead to injury which is why it might be for the best to join a class, hire a teacher, or follow some sort of instructions. Moreover, keep in mind that types such as Satyananda, hatha yoga, and power yoga emphasize slow and steady movements and deep breathing which makes them the best option for relieving stress.
On the other hand, tai chi helps you focus on the present by asking you to pay attention to your movements and breathing. This also helps clear the mind and puts you in a relaxed state. Even though it is a low-impact type of exercise great for people regardless of their age and fitness level, you should still rely on an instructor before you learn the basics. After that, you can practice on your own.
Write down how you are feeling
Finally, some people don’t find what they are looking for by simply relaxing their body. In that case, you can start journaling. Writing down your thoughts will get things off your mind and help you relax. Note how you are feeling and why you are stressed. There is no need to be poetic, feel free to get straight to the point.
You can also consider making a list of everything you are grateful for. That way, you are focusing on the positives and getting the negatives off your mind. State three good things that happen to you each day, regardless of how small they might seem, such as a delicious meal or not being stuck in traffic.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways how you can relax your mind and body. Try out different approaches until you find those that work for you.